Monday, October 13, 2014

Recipe of the month: Vegetable Pulao

It's time for a recipe that is very close to my heart. This is a recipe for Vegetable Pulao that I have been making for the past 6-7 years. Every single time I make Pulao at home, it is this recipe that I turn to, so in a way, it is my go-to recipe. I've made it on countless occasions when I've had guests at home and I very frequently get asked the recipe Since it works so well for me, I haven't changed a thing and have continued to make it the same way over the years. Why mess with a good thing no? 

This recipe does have some history attached to it. Immediately after I got married, I was a housewife for a while. I had just graduated from dental school and I was quite frankly quite fed up with studying and working. Since I was always highly enthusiastic about cooking, I used that short phase of my life to learn all the basic recipes that my mum and MIL had perfected over the years. One among them was this recipe for Vegetable Pulao. This is my MIL's recipe and it is one of her signature dishes. My husband was very eager that I learn this recipe from her and he used to frequently bug me about it. I did eventually learn it but the first few times I made it, the feedback I would always get is that - "its good but it tastes a bit different from mum's". I had no idea what I was doing differently. My MIL uses a mixture of two different pulao masalas for this recipe. One from Everest and one from MTR. This combination, gives it a distinct flavour that you do not get if you just stick to one masala. She also uses fried bread cubes as a kind of garnish which gives it a different twist and something my hubby really loves. I guess the saying 'Practice Makes Perfect' is true because as I continued to strive to get it right and eventually succeeded to get it to taste like her version (don't ask me how though coz I have no idea...hahaha).  

I use an equal proportion of basmati rice and regular rice i.e. sona masoori in this recipe. There are certain kinds of rice dishes that I make for which I use an equal ratio of these two varieties of rice. I just like it better that way. But then again, there are other kinds of rice dishes where I exclusively stick to either basmati rice or regular rice. You can use whatever rice you like but be mindful that the quantity of cooking liquid would change (more details on that as you read on). 

Here is the recipe. It is slightly labour intensive but the good thing with any pulao is that it is a one pot meal and all you need is a simple raita and some crunchy element on the side and your meal is ready!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Restaurant review: Dinner Buffet at Cafe Mosaic @ The Carlton, Singapore

Cafe Mosaic is a contemporary cafe located at level 1 of the elegant Carlton Hotel in Singapore. This restaurant is touted as a place where Asian and Western culinary favourites are brought together to give diners a taste of what the best of Singapore has to offer. From their menu, Cafe Mosaic presents a kaleidoscope of culinary choices in their buffet as well as on their à la carte menu.

I became aware of the buffet at Cafe Mosaic only after my boss asked for suggestions for a dinner venue to treat all of us to celebrate her being granted tenure at my University. A few of my colleagues had been to the buffet and so it was highly recommended. The 1-for-1 buffet promotion for Citibank, DBS/POSB and UOB Cardmembers was another compelling reason to pick this restaurant for the venue. We made a reservation on a Friday evening for 16 people which was handled efficiently so after work, we all headed in a big herd towards Carlton Hotel.

The hotel is beautiful and has an air of sophistication. Since we reached the hotel before 6:30pm, we waited for a while in the waiting area of the main lobby until the restaurant opened for service. BTW, the restrooms are located just outside the restaurant and they are super clean

The restaurant is a decent size and is somewhat compartmentalized. The decor is pleasing and the lighting is ample. We caught a glimpse of the spread as we made our way towards our table and it looked impressive indeed!